The Logic of Being
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The Logic of Being : Historical Studies

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The last twenty years have seen remarkable developments in our understanding of how the ancient Greek thinkers handled the general concept of being and its several varieties. The most general examination of the meaning of the Greek verb 'esti'/'einai'/'on' both in common usage and in the philosophical literature has been presented by Charles H. Kahn, most extensively in his 1973 book The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek. These discussions are summarized in Kahn's contribution to this volume. By and large, they show that conceptual schemes by means of which philosophers have recently approached Greek thought have not been very well suited to the way the concept of being was actually used by the ancients. For one thing, being in the sense of existence played a very small role in Greek thinking according to Kahn. Even more importantly, Kahn has argued that Frege and Russell's thesis that verbs for being, such as 'esti', are multiply ambiguous is ill suited for the purpose of appreciating the actual conceptual assumptions of the Greek thinkers. Frege and Russell claimed that a verb like 'is' or'esti' is ambiguous between the 'is' of identity, the 'is' of existence, the copulative 'is', and the generic 'is' (the 'is' of class-inclusion). At least a couple of generations of scholars have relied on this thesis and fre- quently criticized sundry ancients for confusing these different senses of 'esti' with each other.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 316 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 17.02mm | 492g
  • Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1986
  • 2 Illustrations, black and white; 316 p. 2 illus.
  • 9027723710
  • 9789027723710

Table of contents

Retrospect on the Verb `To Be' and the Concept of Being.- Identity and Predication in Plato.- Aristotle and Existence.- The Varieties of Being in Aristotle.- The Chimera's Diary.- Peter Abelard's Investigations into the Meaning and Functions of the Speech Sign `Est'.- The Logic of Being in Thomas Aquinas.- Being qua Being in Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus.- On Descartes's Argument for Dualism and the Distinction Between Different Kinds of Beings.- Kant on Existence, Predication, and the Ontological Argument.- On Frege's Concept of Being.- Index of Names.- Index of Subjects.
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About Simo Knuuttila

Jaakko Hintikka is the author or co-author of thirty volumes and of some 300 scholarly articles in mathematical and philosophical logic, epistemology, language theory, philosophy of science, history of ideas and history of philosophy, including Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Peirce, The Bloomsbury Group, Husserl and Wittgenstein. He has also been active in international scholarly organizations, most recently as the First Vice-President of FISP, Vice-President of IIP and Co-Chair of the American Organizing Committee of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy. He has been Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal Synthese and the Managing Editor of Synthese Library since 1965.
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